The Real Life of Queen Anne on BBC Radio Berkshire

Wednesday 23rd January 2019

The new hit period drama film The Favourite has captured the attention of many since its release at the begining of the year. Olivia Colman’s Golden Globe award winning performance of Queen Anne has sparked an interest into the life of the monarch.

Headmistress of Queen Anne’s School Julia Harrington, and Graduate Assistant Alice Whitehead, joined Sarah Walker on her morning show on BBC Radio Berkshire. They spoke about the real life of the school’s benefactor, and how it historically differs from that portrayed in The Favourite.

In 1706, Queen Anne granted the school, as part of the Grey Coat Hospital Foundation, a royal charter. The foundation brought the school to its current site in Caversham, and thus became Queen Anne’s School in 1894.

Graduate Assistant at Queen Anne’s School, Alice Whitehead, studied Political History at Cambridge University, and has curated a plethora of knowledge about the monarch over the years: “Queen Anne was one of the most complex characters to ever have worn the English crown, yet her reign is rarely referenced in popular culture. We obsess over Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, but Anne slips silently to the margins.”

The Favourite had a tricky mission, because it had to convince a modern public audience that women really did have tangible political power before they received the vote in 1918” Alice clarified. “However, for all its flaws, it has at least given us a platform to reintroduce one of the most criminally overlooked women in history – and for that, I am grateful that Anne has at last made her reappearance on the public stage, over 300 years since she left it.”

Queen Anne’s legacy and influence still lives on in the school today. A portrait of the monarch hangs in the school hall and her story is well known amongst the school’s community, of which the students and staff are incredibly proud.


“Having seen the film The Favourite, it was important to be able to go and regest the balance on Queen Anne’s life, which was so much more than the film, although enjoyable, represents.” Julia Harrington explained.

“Queen Anne was a remarkable woman who battled with personal tragedy throughout her life, but never lost sight of her vision for her role as Queen, the future of politics and her duty to Great Britain.”

You can listen to Julia Harrington and Alice Whitehead’s full segment on BBC Radio Berkshire here.


Read more of the latest news from Queen Anne’s School here.